Rising to meet demand

GDHF currently holds a large order book with Airbus Helicopters for delivery of 50 H160s (illustrated) and 20 H175s, but is also in discussion
with other OEMs

The announcement of a new helicopter leasing and finance company indicates that demand for supporting the offshore sector is returning. Oil production has significantly increased, partly due to the Ukraine war.

This increase in demand has coincided with many operators seeking to replace older-generation helicopters and take advantage of the new technology and capabilities entering the commercial sector.

Keen to be part of this boom time is GD Helicopter Finance (GDHF), a start-up helicopter leasing and finance company based in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Michael York, GDHF’s founding chief executive officer, spoke to Air International about his plans for the new company: “The current dynamics of the helicopter market are favourable for lessors, operators and, to some extent, OEMs.

“The demand for helicopters is strong, while the available supply is tight now and in the future. This, coupled with the substantial increase in end-user rates paid to helicopter operators in the last two years, has created a healthy situation across the industry value chain. Thanks to our strategic planning and deep understanding of the industry, GD Helicopter Finance is well-positioned to capitalise on these market conditions.

“We [at GDHF] project continued momentum with the market robustly absorbing aircraft for various offshore tendering activities across the globe and for other near-term end-user requirements," said York.

With the lessor market competitiveness increasing significantly post-pandemic, what will GDHF offer that’s different? Quite a lot, according to York: “We’ll offer customers near-term availability of the newest technology, efficient, cost-effective, multi-mission helicopters via OEM order books of 50 Airbus H160 medium helicopters and 20 H175 super medium helicopters along with our capacity to readily deploy additional capital to meet market requirements for helicopter finance.

“We aim to differentiate with a strong, long-term culture of customer focus, trust, integrity, speed and flexibility.”

Two substantial orders have already been placed with Airbus, which will be delivered this year. York pointed out that the H225, AW139 and AW189 are other types being considered.

“We will be marketing helicopters for lease to customers in the energy, SAR, EMS and parapublic market segments worldwide,” added York.

Asked where he regards the highest demand for offshore support, York said Brazil, Namibia and Guyana are the most active markets.

Given the highly experienced team, many of whom have years in the business, and industry experts behind the launch of GDHF, it’s clear this new lessor has its feet on the ground in the road ahead... and its products in the air.

  Michael York, chief executive officer of newly established GDHF, shakes hands with Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, at the signing of a contract for up to 20 H175 helicopters on April 25 GDHF